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Fitness Clothing and Gear

Topic Overview

Some activities require specific gear, and learning about buying gear is your responsibility as you learn the sport or activity. Always use the safety gear recommended for your chosen activity, such as a helmet and knee pads. Learn about the use and proper fit of such safety equipment.

If you are just trying out a new sport, try renting or borrowing the gear you need. Make sure the gear fits you properly. If you don't, you risk injury.

Get the right shoes for your activity, especially for aerobic activities. Shoes designed for running, walking, hiking, or particular sports have features that will keep your feet comfortable and well supported for that activity. Replace your shoes often if you exercise regularly. When shopping for shoes:

  • Try on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen.
  • If you have shoe inserts or orthotics, test them out in various shoes.
  • Wear the type of socks that you will most often wear with the shoes.
  • Have both feet measured. Your foot size can change as you grow older. Often one foot is larger than the other. Shoes should be fitted to the larger foot.

You don't need to buy special clothing to exercise, as long as you are as comfortable as possible. Wear clothing that is breathable (allows air to circulate through the cloth and around your body). Several light layers often work better than one heavier layer. Each layer serves a purpose:

  • The layer closest to your skin should wick moisture away from your body.
  • Another layer should provide warmth (if needed) and support to keep you comfortable as you move.
  • The outermost layer should protect you from wind and rain (without holding sweat next to your skin).

If you are outside, don't forget about the sun. Use sunscreens, and consider using:

  • Hats with wide 10 cm (4 in.) brims that cover your neck, ears, eyes, and scalp.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Clothing treated for sun protection.

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Credits

Current as of: May 5, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Heather O. Chambliss, PhD, FACSM - Exercise Science

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